Bless This Mouse

Bless This Mouse

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780544439368
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 04/07/2015
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 160
Sales rank: 580,663
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.60(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range: 7 - 10 Years

About the Author


Lois Lowry is known for her versatility and invention as a writer. She has received countless honors including two Newbery Medals for Number the Stars and The Giver. She divides her time between Cambridge, Massachusettts, and a farmhouse in Falmouth, Maine. Visit her website at www.loislowry.com.

Eric Rohmann won the Caldecott Medal for My Friend Rabbit, and a Caldecott Honor for Time Flies, and now makes his dynamic Houghton debut with these illustrations. He lives in a suburb of Chicago. Visit his website at www.ericrohmann.com.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter A Bad Time for Babies

Hildegarde sighed, a loud, squeaking, outraged sort of sigh, when she was informed that a new litter of mouselets had been born in the sexton’s closet. Such bad timing! Such bad placement!

She scurried from the sacristy, the private room where Father Murphy’s special priestly clothes were stored. She’d been napping there comfortably, until Roderick, whiskers twitching, woke her with the news. Oh, he was a busybody, no question! Always looking for a reaction. Well, he got one this time! She was furious.

Checking carefully to be certain there were no humans around (sometimes the Altar Guild ladies dropped in during the afternoons to rearrange flowers), Hildegarde tiptoed quickly into the large, high-ceilinged church itself, through the side section known as the transept, and entered the central area called the nave. Audaciously she hurried down the center aisle, ready at any instant to disappear into a pew and under a kneeler if someone entered. But the sanctuary was empty and quiet and she made her way, undisturbed, down its length.

Next she found herself in the narthex. Hildegarde so liked the formal names for the parts of the church. If she were in an ordinary house, she thought, twitching her nose at the idea, this would be known as the front hall. What an ordinary name! Narthex had a ring to it. You knew you were in an important place when you entered a narthex!

There was a tiny opening here, beside the front door, where the floor had settled slightly. Through the opening Hildegarde could enter the wall. The church mice all used this as an entry or exit because stairs

were a problem for them. It was easier to ascend or descend inside the wall, where there were tangled wires and frayed insulation to cling to. Carefully, she scurried downward.

Now, having made her way below, she was in the interior wall of the undercroft. Since Hildegarde had lived in Saint Bartholemew’s all her life she knew the route by heart, especially where to scramble over the copper pipes and how to avoid the places where drifting insulation made her sneeze. There were many exits here in the undercroft: one, she recalled, amused as she passed it, into the nursery, a noisy place on Sunday mornings and best avoided. Babies in general were best avoided. They spent time on the floor, could see into crevices, and had graspy hands.

But at least babies couldn’t talk, and report a mouse sighting! The group to be most feared, Hildegard thought, was the Altar Guild. More than one of the ladies had actually shrieked upon happening on a mouse. Oh, dear. Always an uproar when that happened. (Men seemed to be more sensible about such things.)

Finally, after passing countless Sunday School rooms and making her way carefully around the complicated piping of the bathrooms, Hildegarde arrived at the entrance, a small gnawed hole, to the sexton’s closet. She winced when the ragged hole edge grabbed her sleek coat, but wriggled through; then, emerging on the other side within the closet itself, she fastidiously pulled her long, elegant tail through in one swoop.

There they were, curled in a nest made from a pile of the sexton’s cleaning rags: at least seven of them, it appeared, and bright pink, a color Hildegarde had always disliked. Annoyed, she looked around. She knew the mother would be nearby. No self-respecting mouse mother would leave infants this young alone. So someone was hiding.

"Show yourself!" Hildegarde commanded. She didn’t use her commanding voice terribly often, even though she was the matriarch, the chosen Mouse Mistress, and therefore entitled. But she was angry, and ner-vous. The timing of this was so unfortunate.

The mouse mother responded with a timid squeak, peeping out from between the ropy tangles of a moldy-smelling mop.

"I knew it would be you! I just knew it!" Hildegarde said.

"Who told?" squeaked the mouse, guiltily. She made her way over toward the litter, which was beginning to whimper and wiggle at the sound of her voice. She nudged them back into a tidy pile with her nose and then lay down beside the babies, looking up at Hildegarde.

"I simply guessed. It was obvious," Hildegarde said with a sniff. Of course it was Roderick who had told her. "That trashy little Millicent has reproduced again," he had announced in his arrogant, judgmental way, after he had poked Hildegarde with his nose and completely ruined her afternoon nap.

She peered down at the young mother. "How many litters does this make?"

Millicent cringed in embarrassment. "Four," she confessed.

"Four this year? Or four overall?" Hildegarde gave an exasperated sniff. "Oh, never mind. It doesn’t matter. The point is, as mouse mistress, I am commanding you to stop this incessant reproduction! It’s jeopardizing all of us. And particularly now. Do you realize it’s late September?"

Millicent rearranged herself and the mouselets squirmed against her. "Do you mean it will be cold soon? I can make a nest near a heating duct when the furnace comes on."

"That is not at all what I mean. But you are going to have to move this litter someplace else right away. I don’t think the sexton’s here today. But he’ll be in k7 k tomorrow, I’m sure. And the instant he reaches for his cleaning rags . . ."

Millicent squeaked at the thought.

"Exactly," Hildegarde went on. "Basically, the sexton is fairly tolerant. He’ll ignore a few droppings. And I know he overlooked the shredding in his stack of newspapers, though he surely knew it was a nest. That was kind of him. But if he were to encounter . . . this!" She gestured toward the pile of pink mouselets. "Well! Do you recall the Great X?"

Millicent cringed. "I’ve only heard about it," she said nervously.

"No, of course you don’t remember. The last Great X was before you were born. But it was simply terrible. We lost half our population! I vowed not to let it happen again. No more haphazard, willy-nilly reproduction! Careful placement! No visibility!" She looked meaningfully at the litter, sleeping now, curled in the stained rags. "We’ve got to get you and these mouselets moved inside the wall right away."

She considered the problem, then said, "There’s k8 k a perfectly good nest left empty after Zachariah’s demise." She was silent for a moment, then crossed herself, murmured, "Lord rest his soul," and continued: "It’s in the wall behind the men’s room toilet. A little noisy, I’m afraid, because of flushing."

"I don’t mind flushing," Millicent squeaked.

"Let’s get started, then. If you take one and I take another, we can get them all moved in three or four trips." Hildegarde leaned down and took a deep breath. "Oh," she muttered, "this is not pleasant at all." Then she grasped a mouselet by its neck and moved back through the hole into the wall, carrying it carefully, its miniature legs and tail dangling in a slightly wiggly way.

Preparing to come after her, Millicent paused and said in a sulky voice, "Lucretia thinks they’re cute."

Hildegarde heard her but didn’t dignify the comment with a response. She couldn’t stand Lucretia, who had competed against her for the role of Mouse Mistress using unfair tactics, and had been a very poor sport about losing.

She continued on, carrying the mouselet. But now she was even more furious. Lucretia! Her rival. Her worst enemy. And a liar, too. Cute? These mouselets were a hideous shade of pink, and their ribs showed. They were not cute at all.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

A Bad Time for Babies! 1
Praying for Protection 10
Hildegarde Holds a Meeting 21
Hiding from Father Murphy 32
A Nighttime Raid 45
The Great X 60
Yikes! Outdoors! 71
Ignatious Explains the Horrors 83
Brave Volunteers Needed! 94
One Mouse is Missing! 106
Poor Lucretia! 120
The Blessing of the Animals 137

Customer Reviews

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Bless This Mouse 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
minervami More than 1 year ago
Bless This Mouse Lois Lowry takes a more lighthearted road in her new book Bless This Mouse. Lowry explores the life of church mice as they face the everyday dangers of being seen and caught in another fatal Great X. The perils that face a mouse are seen through the eyes of Mistress Hildegarde who works tirelessly to protect her mouse population. A cute, fun read reminiscent of the Mouse and the Motorcycle and the Tale of Desperaux. Lovers of animal tales will enjoy this tale but lovers of Lowry's harder impact stores such as The Giver will be a little disappointed. Overall a great, easy read perfect for the 8-11 year age range.
Dranea More than 1 year ago
This is a beautifully told tale of a community of church mice. Their Mouse Mistress, Hidegarde, keeps their lives in order from making sure babies are nested in the proper places, to conducting prayer services for all of the mice. This book has lots going on in it, The Great X, rescues, meeting new friends, and exploring the unknown. The Mouse Mistress reminds me of a nun that I had as a teacher when I was in Catholic school. She is very firm, expects order and for the children to obey. She comes across very gruff at time, but she really has a soft spot for her community and will do anything for each and everyone of the members. The illustrations I did get to see in this uncorrected proof were just adorable. I can not wait to see the book in it finalized glory. I would recommend to the young and old alike!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is rly good im reading it for summer reading and i rly lik it! Xoxo mary
mel_bWI More than 1 year ago
These church mice must be very careful in their church, St Bartholomew's Catholic Church, to create the illusion that there is only one mice in residence. When sightings draw the dreaded exterminator, pure mouse brilliance steps up to save the day! This would be a charming read aloud for pre-readers and a short read for 3rd-4th graders. Come to think of it, it was a charming, funny read for this adult!
kljoh on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Hildegarde is the leader of a tribe of church mice. The mice lead a fairly peaceful life in Saint Bartholomew¿s, with plenty of food and warm hiding places. However, with multiple parishioners spotting mice in the church, the birth of a new litter of baby mice, the dreaded Great X, and the quickly approaching Blessing of the Animals Sunday, Hildegarde has her hands full keeping her mice safe. Eventually she will have to risk everything to ensure that they can maintain residence in the church.Although the concept of religious mice is slightly strange, overall Lois Lowery¿s story in cute and funny. Hildegarde is a little hard to like and relate to as a main character because she is so strict and bossy. However, this does not take away too much from the interesting and original plot. Eric Rohmann¿s illustrations are very cute and occasionally funny. They add to the story without providing too much distraction. Bless This Mouse is a great book for children in second through fifth grade, although younger children may enjoy it if it is read aloud to them. It is recommended for the children¿s section of public libraries and for elementary school libraries.
Booklady123 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I received an advanced reader's copy of Bless This Mouse by Lois Lowry back in early January. I am appalled at how long it has taken me to get to this wonderful book, but shortly after receiving the galley, I had two surgeries. The galley got pushed aside in all the recovery and follow up.Summary: Bless This Mouse tells the story of a group of church mice, led by Mouse Mistress Hildegarde and their efforts to avoid The Big X. Hildegarde is responsible for keeping all 200 plus mice who live at St. Bartholemew's safe and hidden. Not an easy job when new litters are being born and her nemesis Lucretia is constantly looking for ways to undermine Hildegarde so she can become Mouse Mistress. To make matters even more challenging, the mice are discovered and must seek refuge outside the church while Father Murphy calls in The Big X to get rid of them. After a few days the mice are able to return to the church, but they are not out of danger yet. The Blessing of the Animals is any day and you know what that means - Cats! Lots and lots of cats! Will Hildegarde be able to keep everyone safe?Lois Lowery is perhaps best known for her serious novels: The Giver and Number the Stars - for which she won Newbery Awards. However, she makes the transition to animal stories with ease. This is a delightful story about overcoming dangers and appreciating all animals great and small.. While there is a significant religious connection, it is not overpowering and will not put off those of a more secular nature. Lowry has created likable characters that will delight readers. These mice are more like Laura Numeroff's popular school attending picture book mouse than the rodents that generally make humans squeal with disgust. Hildegarde is a clever and hardworking character and will have readers rooting for her success against the Great X. Illustrator Eric Rohmann's wonderful pencil drawings help make the mice even more charming..Amazon lists the reading level as 9 - 12, which sounds just right. It was also make a great read aloud for 2nd grade classrooms.This a must read for fans of Lois Lowry and animals stories in general.Mrs. Archer's Rating: 5 of 5.
Dranea on LibraryThing 8 months ago
This is a beautifully told tale of a community of church mice. Their Mouse Mistress, Hidegarde, keeps their lives in order from making sure babies are nested in the proper places, to conducting prayer services for all of the mice. This book has lots going on in it, The Great X, rescues, meeting new friends, and exploring the unknown. The Mouse Mistress reminds me of a nun that I had as a teacher when I was in Catholic school. She is very firm, expects order and for the children to obey. She comes across very gruff at time, but she really has a soft spot for her community and will do anything for each and everyone of the members. The illustrations I did get to see in this uncorrected proof were just adorable. I can not wait to see the book in it finalized glory. I would recommend to the young and old alike!
lprybylo on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Grades 2-5. Cute story about church mice and the big X. Hildegarde the Mouse Mistress of Saint Bartholemew's has her paws full keeping over 200 church mice under control and out of the way of humans. A quick feel good read.
kbarnes on LibraryThing 8 months ago
What a charming and adorable little adventure! I love Lois Lowry and all her works. There are so few worthwhile books aimed for this particular age group that I know this will be quite popular. I'm not sure that the very religious slant of the book will be appreciated by all but there is a large group of young Christian readers who will love this book. As a public library with a Catholic school right across the street, it will be greatly appreciated to finally have a book that will be extremely easy to recommend to all these children. One regret: the small bit about the Father drinking wine and Roderick licking up all the spills (and getting tipsy in the process) might upset a few Christian parents.
Whisper1 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Two-time Newbery medal winner Lois Lowry is one of my favorite authors. Number the Stars, The Silent Boy and The Giver tend to be serious books, Bless This Mouse is different from her other writings. It is whimsical, delightful, humorous and down right fun.A large group of 200 plus mice live in St. Bartholemew's parish church. When the congregation and the rector discover that the population is growing, fearfully the consequence is possible extermination. In charge of the group of mice is older, wiser Hildegarde who must find a solution to save her flock.While lighter than previous books, this lovely tale happens to sneak in a philosophical message regarding the respect for all creatures great and small.This is a book with wonderful illustrations by the Caldecott Medalist Eric Rohmann. It is a quick, breezy read for a hot summer day!Recommended.
AngelaCinVA on LibraryThing 8 months ago
This is a review of a digital advance copy via netGalley.Lowry, Lois. Bless This Mouse. Illustrated by Eric Rohmann. Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt, 2011. 160 pages. $15.99.Bless This Mouse by Lois Lowry is the heartwarming chronicle of the mice of St. Bartholomew¿s church. This community of church mice, led by Mouse Mistress Hildegarde, tries to live quietly, avoiding the notice of the Father Murphy, the Altar Guild and other people of the parish. But as they consider preparations for the annual Blessing of the Animals on the Feast of St. Francis, which means cats in the church, they face an even bigger danger. They¿ve been spotted. That means, the Great X, something they fear even more than cats. Hildegarde shepherds her charges on an adventure into the outdoors with the help of her friend and supporter Roderick and a former college library mouse named Ignatius. The characters are lively and well-developed from the ditzy mouse mother having her litters in the most inappropriate places to jealous Lucretia who envies HIldegarde her position as Mouse Mistress. Rohmann¿s charming and whimsical illustrations bring the characters to life. This book will appeal to young middle grade students. While it includes some challenging vocabulary, the chapters are not long, giving young readers a break. Bless This Mouse also would make an excellent choice to read aloud for second or third graders. Children will eagerly wait to see if the mice can survive the dangerous outdoors, avoid the Great X and the pet cats. Then, can one further act of personal bravery win the mice of St. Bartholomew¿s church a blessing of a safe haven? Lois Lowry has again written a wonderful book, one that will delight readers young and old.
skstiles612 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I have always enjoyed the books of Lois Lowry. This was probably one of the best. The little mice felt so human. In this story, Hildegarde is one of many mice who live in the church. She makes it clear the difference between the different mice. She see church mice as being more blessed than field mice. She tries to keep the other mice safe. On one occasion several mice are seen. The priest now knows it is not just one mouse but several mice. He calls for the exterminator. It is up to Hildegarde to prepare the for the the exodus like they had in the Bible days. She knows all about the Bible as she leads the mice in singing the Sunday hymns and learning the scripture. She manages to save them from the Great-X but what will she do to be sure they will always be safe? Read the book and see how "The Feast of Saint Francis" figures in to this wonderful story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think we are better off bro and sis
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Adiya Golden More than 1 year ago
This a nice book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Is it long or short? Is like for little kids, or is it a regular book?